How Much Money Is in the World 2023
How much money is there in the world?
For such a rigidly enforced resource, this is an incredibly difficult question to answer. There are so many facets that must be considered when evaluating “money”. For the purpose of consistent figures, throughout this brief exploration, everything will be equated to the US Dollar. The US Dollar is the most popular currency in the world. It is an official currency in 5 US territories and an additional 7 sovereign countries. Many countries around the world accept the US Dollar alongside their own currency and it can be easily exchanged everywhere else.
In the United States, there is a number called “M0” that represents all of the minted money (coins and bills) in domestic circulation. This number is projected at around $1.5 trillion. However, New York city alone has over $3 trillion in private wealth. What this means is that the vast majority of money in the United States, and likely the rest of the world, is immaterial, digital.
Worldwide, M0 is projected at around $5 trillion. This is the sum of all the minted money of all currencies in circulation. However, the figure that we may be more interested in can be referred to as “broad money” or M3. This figure accounts for all funds in checking, savings, and money-market accounts; it’s essentially all digital money owned by anyone, anywhere. This figure runs much, much higher with an estimated $80 trillion in worldwide funds.
There are three more numbers of minor interest that should at least be acknowledged. The combined Gross Domestic Product of all countries is projected at $142 trillion. Currently, the world owes about $220 trillion in debt and the world’s total property value is somewhere around $220 trillion as well. While these astronomical figures could really throw a wrench in our answer, for all intents and purposes, let’s just use the nice round figure of $80 trillion, as it most closely fits the definition of how much “money” is in the world. Now, what would that number look like if we considered more than just the US Dollar?
There are 180 currencies in the world that are recognized by the United Nations. Of these 180, the most valuable currency is the Kuwaiti Dinar. Used primarily in Kuwait, an oil-rich country in Southwest Asia, one Kuwaiti Dinar (KD) has the equivalent value of $3.24. Therefore, in Kuwaiti Dinar, the total value of all currency in the world is just 24.7 trillion KD. Amazingly, all four of the world’s most valuable currencies come from the Arabian Peninsula. They are, the Kuwaiti Dinar, the Bahrain Dinar, the Oman Rial, and the Jordan Dinar respectively.
On the flip-side, right next door, Iran has the world’s least valuable currency. One US Dollar has the equivalent value of 41,994 Iranian Rial (IRR). Therefore, in Iranian Rial, the total value of all currency in the world is an unfathomable 3.36 Quintillion IRR. That number looks like this: 3,360,000,000,000,000,000. The smallest bank note printed in Iran is worth 100 IRR which has the equivalent value of about ¼ of a cent. There is also a 100,000 IRR note ($2.38).
The Vietnamese Dong (VND) prints the bank note in current circulation with the highest denomination, 500,000 VND. However, the Vietnamese Dong is the second least valuable currency in the world. One US Dollar is worth 23,194 VND. Therefore, even a bank note worth 500,000 VND has the equivalent value of just $21.56.
The currency with the highest banknote denomination in history was the Zimbabwean Dollar (ZWD), which went out of circulation in 2009 as its value plummeted. In an attempt to cope with a plummeting currency, the Zimbabwean government printed a banknote with a denomination of 100 trillion ZWD. At the time, this was only worth about $0.40. Therefore if we equate the estimated $80 trillion that exists in the world today to the extinct Zimbabwean Dollar, the total value of all currency on Earth is about 20 octillion ZWD. That number looks like this: 20,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. If you printed that much money in 500 ZWD notes, the volume of the notes would be approximate to the volume of the Earth itself.
So the short answer to the question “How much money is in the World?” is $80 trillion. But perhaps the most important thing to take away is the notion that all money is imaginary and holds imaginary value. So depending on how economically liberated one is feeling, the world’s currency can have as much or as little value as one prescribes it.